USPS Malware Emails

Emails purporting to be from the United States Postal Service (USPS) claim that a parcel could not be delivered due to an address error and instruct recipients to click a link to download a shipping label.

Brief Analysis:
The emails are not from USPS. The claim that USPS failed to deliver a parcel to the recipient due to an incorrect address is untrue. Clicking on the ‘shipping label’ link in the emails will download a malicious file to the user’s computer.

Hello,Your item has arrived at Thu, 26 Jan 2017 03:04:09 +0100, but our courierwas not able to deliver the parcel.You can download the shipment label attached!All the best.[Name Removed] – USPS Support Agent.

USPS Malware Email
Subject: Problem with the delivery of parcelUSPS .COMNotificationYour package has arrived on August 16th, but the messenger was
unable to deliver the package to you. For more detailed information,
please, Print and Read the Shipping Label.USPS Malware Email
Subject: USPS delivery problem # Error ID60347Unfortunately, we failed to deliver the postal package you have sent on (date varies) in time, because the recipient’s address is erroneous.Print a Shipping LabelIf the parcel isn’t received within 30 working days our company will have the right to claim compensation from you for each day of keeping.
USPS Malware Email

Detailed Analysis:
These emails, which purport to be from the United States Postal Service (USPS), claim that a package sent by the recipient was not delivered because the postal address was incorrect. The messages instruct the recipient to click a button to print off a shipping label and then take the label to the nearest USPS office so that the error can be rectified.

However, the messages are not from USPS. The claim that a package delivery has failed is untrue. The messages are an attempt by online criminals to trick users into downloading and installing malware.

In some versions, the link in the scam email points to a compromised website that will automatically download the malicious payload to the victim’s computer.  In other cases, the malware will be contained in an attached file.

The exact nature of the malware may vary. In some recent incarnations, the payload is ransomware. Ransomware can lock up the files on your computer and then demand that you pay a fee to online criminals to receive the decryption key.

Other types of malware delivered via these fake USPS emails can steal sensitive personal information from the infected computer, make connections with remote servers operated by online criminals, and download further malware components.

To increase the illusion of legitimacy, many of the emails come complete with a USPS logo and supposed delivery bar code and shipping numbers.

The “parcel delivery” tactic has been used repeatedly by malware scammers. USPS has been targeted in very similar attacks over recent years as have UPS, FedEx, DHL, Royal Mail and other postal and delivery organisations around the world.

Beware of any unsolicited email that claims that you must click a link or open an attachment to print a shipping label, correct a parcel addressing error, or find out more information about a supposed parcel delivery.

Last updated: February 2, 2017
First published: November 5, 2012
By Brett M. Christensen
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